LinkedIn: Your New Resume and Marketing Tool
LinkedIn is your new, ever-circulating resume. It gives everyone on the platform a glimpse into your professional life—past and present—and the more active you are on it, the more likely that glimpse is to turn into a full picture.
Even if you are not actively searching for a new job, you and your successes are being put on display to employers who are actively searching for someone like you. Recruiters and hiring managers notice. Potential clients notice. People are paying attention—actively and passively. It’s your best form of marketing and advertising, and it’s free!
So then why do so many people not take the time to optimize their LinkedIn profile to help their professional image?
What Matters on Your Profile
As lawyers, LinkedIn is a way for you to reach potential future employers. Your LinkedIn can speak for you without you having to recite your accomplishments and accolades—if you have those things on your profile. However, when looking at your LinkedIn, it may be difficult to discern which sections are the most important. There are a lot of options, and if you have not spent considerable time developing an all-star profile, you may not know where to begin. Here are the areas I suggest focusing on to draw the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager:
About sectionCreating a good About section will help boost your visibility. This section should be written in the first person and show off a bit of your personality and style. It should not only give a quick synopsis of what you do and specialize in, but it should also include some specific details on what you excel at and how you like to work.
Recruiters and hiring managers alike are looking for a high-level overview of what you bring to the table and why they should take a seat at the table with you. Make this clear in your About section.
Experience section - In the Experience section, it is important to have a description for each position you list and your skills that are utilized in your positions. The more detail you add to this section, the better. It lets individuals know your day-to-day and your specialty. Make sure you keep this section up to date so that potential employers and connections know if you are looking for a change.
This section is where keywords become imperative. If you do a type of filing regularly or draft a specific type of contract daily, make sure to list that in your Experience section. That may help you come to the top of our search. Your job titles should be ones that we would be searching for as well. Even if your company calls you something other than a lawyer, attorney or counsel, make sure that broad term is used in your title because those are the first words recruiters are looking for.
Education sectionThis section is important for when you connect with professional acquaintances and old classmates. Most individuals will have their education and year of graduation listed. You can then find old friends that you may have lost touch with through looking at your schools.
Most of the time, recruiters have a list of minimum requirements that must be met to even qualify for a conversation. One of these requirements is often education. If the employer requires a JD, the recruiter will add that into the search parameters.
LinkedIn will send you updates about how many searches you showed up in every single week. It will look something like this, “You appeared in 429 searches this week.” Once your profile gets optimized, you will start to notice an uptick in this number. If you don’t see this number increasing, you may need to look at your settings. Are you set as open to work? Is your profile set to private instead of public? Or are there simply not enough keywords included? To fix this, you will have to look into every aspect of your profile.
Why an Optimized Profile Matters
Think of LinkedIn as a search engine (i.e., Google) for recruiters, hiring managers, and business professionals alike. The more your profile is filled with details and/or keywords aligned with your area of expertise, the easier it is for employers to find you. But if your profile is not easy to find during a search, you won’t be getting a lot of profile views or appear in search results.
Recruiters and hiring managers live on the backend of LinkedIn called LinkedIn Recruiter. They are looking at profiles in a completely different way than the average job seeker or user. They are looking for specific terms when they have an open role. They want to find the people who are as close to a perfect fit for what they are looking for as possible. So, if your profile has all the words they are looking for, you’re likely to appear at the top of the search regardless of whether you are looking for a new job or not. For example, if you are a commercial contracts attorney, you will want to make sure that your LinkedIn reflects your experiences. If you have experience drafting and negotiating SaaS agreements, you will want to make note of this under your job description.
How This Can Help Your Career
Not everyone is looking for a new job. That is okay! But it doesn’t negate the fact that your LinkedIn should be optimized. I have seen time and time again individuals get jobs purely off their LinkedIn. The hiring manager bumped into them through seeing their content or they appeared in a search. That hiring manager went into their profile and was able to tell within five minutes if they would be a good fit for the role.
LinkedIn can also help you get a foot in the door by connecting you with a peer at a different company and simply asking about their job. Most individuals if they feel you are a good fit for a company will send your profile over to HR or a hiring manager. If your profile isn’t optimized, you can kiss those chances of getting an internal referral at your dream company goodbye.
LinkedIn should be your best friend before you retire. If you are looking for a job, this is an amazing way to make sure you are seen, and your resume doesn’t get thrown to the bottom of the stack (or more commonly in our digital realm to the 10th page of the search results). You want to make sure that you are the industry example and come up as the first search result when someone searches “Contract Attorney”, for example. Not only will this give you passive advertising for yourself and your firm but optimizing your LinkedIn profile might present an opportunity that could change your life.